Thinking About Inspiration: Metaphorical Invisibility

 

Are you my reader? I’m looking for you. There are many things that I love to write about, and I especially love to write about the people who fade into our societal background.

What writer doesn’t love to people watch? One of the best part of living in a major metropolitan area is that I get to watch people all day long. I’m always looking for the unseen people, the people who sort of fade into the background. This is a very small amount of people: I’m not looking for the beautiful people, obviously, but I’m not looking for the obviously abnormal people, either.

I’m a person who fades into the background. I’m a well behaved Black person. When I pin my locs back and put on a conservative outfit, people don’t look at me twice in this city. I’m a “regular” person not worthy of anyone’s thought or look. I often only become “visible” when I’m misbehaving in some way–when I become the “angry” black woman that people expect me to become. Then, suddenly, people see me. This is also the case for when I do something extraordinary–end up in a room where I’m not “supposed” to be because the usual demographics are exclusive. Or if I open my mouth to speak and people hear something that they absolutely were not expecting. I’ve learned how to turn on and off my invisibility over the years. I’ve also learned where my invisibility works and doesn’t work.

I hate being invisible. When I look at other overlooked people, I sometimes see the same frustration. There are people out there who are trying to break their way through the invisibility that society has given them. Some work especially hard at it, making themselves ostentatious in appearance simply to get that glimpse of notice. Others simply speak up and out, looking beyond themselves and toward the people who have put them in the “unimportant” box.

Left, still, are the others. The people who don’t know that they’ve faded into obscurity and the people who want to be there. I think both of these groups are interesting. What do you do as an invisible person? What do you see? If you’ve accepted it, what power do you gain by being ignored by your peers and community? If you don’t know it, when is the tipping point when you realize that you’ve been walking the earth as little more than the dust under your community’s feet? What are your thoughts? Does a pathology grow?

I’m curious about the invisible because I think that some of the invisible people in our society have figured out ways to become visible in new and explosive ways. Why I don’t necessarily write those with specific mental illness, I think that quirky people are interesting and that those quirks should be explored.

What are the things that make human’s the same and yet different from their communities? When do communities silently part ways with the people within them, discarding them but never expelling them? Who are the people in our communities who are visible and who are the ones who are invisible? Why do people actively choose to hide in plain sight, and what are they doing behind the veil that we’ve put up?

These some of the questions that I explore in my writing. These are some of the questions that get me really going.

Are you my reader? I really hope you are! Stick around and see what I’m doing!

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